No timeline in sight for Cayman blockchain-specific regulations

No timeline in sight for Cayman blockchain-specific regulations

The government of the Cayman Islands has yet to formalise a timeframe for introducing much-needed legislation for the Caribbean jurisdiction’s increasingly successful blockchain sector, a conference heard yesterday.

Cayman-registered blockchain companies are among the fastest-growing anywhere in the world, with upwards of £4.2bn raised from initial coin offerings (ICOs, the cryptocurrency equivalent of an IPO).

Officials and fintech industry leaders have long argued that the non-existence of blockchain regulations in the Caymans is damaging to the jurisdiction’s reputation, and is potentially detrimental to the industry’s prospects.

Francis Arana, the head of the Attorney General’s anti-money laundering unit, confirmed yesterday that there is no timeline set for when any legislation might be implemented.

“I am not certain, but these things do take a lot of time,” Arana said at a conference on anti-money laundering practices for cryptocurrencies hosted by FTS, a financial services consulting firm.

No gun to jump
“I don’t foresee anything this year. If I were to hazard a guess, it would be early next year when you see proposals being circulated.”

Tara Rivers, Cayman’s financial services minister, said in May that his department is considering recommendations created by a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority working group, but no decision had yet been taken: “The international community is just starting to discuss this. Do you want to jump the gun?”

Cryptocurrency regulation will be a central focus of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which meets in October. CFATF executive director, Dawne Spicer, cautioned that there remains confusion over the basic terminology within the sector.

Spicer explained: “The initial thinking is that ‘cryptocurrencies’ is too specific, and virtual currencies is what has been used before. And maybe ‘crypto assets’ is good because ‘crypto assets’ is for the value of any type of asset.”

Author spotlight

Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.